Situation: We want to make our company more client-centered. What are the most important considerations?
Advice from the CEOs:
- One CEO transformed their company into a client-centered organization based on conversations with customers.
- The new structure is based on client-market groups.
- The core of each group is cross-trained professionals who focus on client needs.
- These groups are supplemented with a cross-trained support staff who can shift between projects depending on market conditions.
- Organizational structure must start from, and support, a strategic vision. The vision must be informed by the realities of your market and the products/services that you offer.
- Once you have determined strategy and analyzed customer markets, develop an structure that allows you to adapt to market changes. Structure follows strategy and market.
- Things to watch:
- Flexibility within the structure. You want most of your staff to be flexible, so that you can move them among projects as market conditions change.
- Cross-training is critical.
- You need strong leaders who can develop market segments.
- Create objectives and accountability that will tell you how the market segments are operating, and whether staff are meeting cross-training objectives.
- As you implement a new structure, be aware that:
- Any change is met with insecurity. Coach your managers to communicate with their teams.
- The core message is assure employees that they are valued, that any change will be gradual, and that you will provide them with the appropriate training and incentives that they need to succeed.
Key Words: Customer Focus, Cross-training, Communication, Strategic Vision, Structure, Objectives, Accountability